A/N: I know the show's been cancelled and I know I should be updating my Blake/Cricket story, but in writing their backstory this got into my head and I had to run with it.
The beeping was the first noise Delilah heard. It took a while for her semiconscious brain to recognize that the rhythmic beep corresponded with her own heartbeat. She thought back to what she remembered. She had been at coffee hour talking with Bitsy Lourd and Gigi Stopper—Bitsy was being her usual icy self but Gigi was marginally warmer, probably as a result of her own pregnancy—when the cramps hit. Two days from her own due date, Gigi had joked that there was no way that Delilah's seven-month-tiny-self was going to beat her to it. Delilah had laughed before sinking into a chair.
She vaguely remembered someone—she wasn't sure who—scooping her up and carrying her to a car, but the rest was a blur. Blinking open her eyes to see a sterile white room, she confirmed that she was indeed in the hospital. Her eyes fell on her husband—seated on a small couch near the window—who was too engrossed in whatever file he was reading to notice she was awake. She studied his face, searching for some sign of what had happened with the baby, but his expression was unreadable.
"Clint," she said finally.
He looked up at the sound of her voice and set his papers on the couch next to him. "Hey darlin'," he said as he moved to sit in the chair next to the bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Tired," she said with a shrug that caused an unexpected pain in her abdomen.
"Here." He reached over and hit the call button for the nurse. "They'll get you somethin' for the pain."
"I'm fine," she lied. The dull ache in her abdomen was spreading, but she did her best to ignore it. She needed to know about her baby. "Clint…is…"
"A little on the small side."
"But he's okay?"
A girl. They had a daughter. The baby—the one everyone said had to be a boy because she was carrying low and was craving salty food—was a girl. The pregnancy had been complication free—even minimal morning sickness, which supposedly had been another sign that it would be a boy—so they never had an ultrasound. Besides, Clint had been certain he would have a son.
Looking at him now, she could tell he was disappointed but Delilah was secretly happy she had a daughter. Even though she had been living in Dallas for almost two years, she still didn't feel entirely at home there. Having grown up in Austin, she didn't have the same life-long connection the rest of the women had. Her pregnancy had brought her marginally closer to some of them, but even with Gigi, who—as the wife of her husband's oldest friend—arguably should be her friend too, thing still felt forced.
It would be different with her daughter—Delilah would finally have someone who would just be hers. As her mind began conjuring images of mother-daughter shopping sprees and manicures, she remembered her husband. "Don't worry," she assured him. "The next one will be a boy." Instead of agree verbally, he gave her what seemed like little more than a cursory node before standing abruptly and excusing himself to see what was keeping the nurse.
His non-response made sense once the doctor came into the room and started talking. There had been complications. A placental abruption—there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. The baby had been in clear distress so they delivered immediately—there were some respiratory complications due to the prematurity but they were minor considering and she was responding well to treatments. Delilah, on the other hand, hadn't bounced back as easily. After the c-section there had been bleeding—so much bleeding that she stopped clotting properly and started going into a condition called DIC. The only way to stop it was to remove her uterus.
The doctor's words stunned her. This wasn't supposed to happen; she was young and healthy. Twenty-one-year-olds don't get hysterectomies. The entire time the doctor was talking she tried to catch her husband's eye, but Clint wouldn't—or couldn't—look at her, so when the doctor asked her about pain and offered her morphine, she took it willingly—grateful for an excuse to shut out the world. As she started to drift off, her mind went to her one-day-old daughter alone in the NICU. "Clint," she said tiredly. "The baby's all alone. Go be with her?" she asked. Delilah was asleep before she heard the answer.
When she awoke late the next morning, Delilah found an array of flowers and balloons that had materialized over night. Word must be out, she thought as she hit the call button for the nurse. She pictured the other women of the church waiting for confirmation on the baby's health before making the decision whether to send congratulations or sympathy flowers. For a moment, she wondered if they knew of her complications. She could just hear Bitsy Lourd speculating on what Delilah must have done to bring on them on.
"Good morning, Mrs. Caruth," the nurse said brightly. Her cheery attitude as she checked Delilah's vitals effectively distracted her from her thoughts about what she could have done differently.
"Your husband had to take and call and is using one of our conference rooms," the nurse explained as she finished making a few notes on her chart. "I can get him for you."
"Let him finish the call." The company was in the middle of an acquisition in Houston and she knew Clint was going crazy since he had to leave the deal and fly back to Dallas when she went into labor. Besides, what would they talk about—the son she'd never be able to give him? "How's my daughter?" she asked instead.
"The doctor approved her release from the NICU during morning rounds."
"May I see her?"
"Of course. I'll go get her now."
While she waited for the nurse to return, Delilah's eyes fell to the flowers and she thought of Gigi. It was Tuesday—the other woman's due date—so she was probably somewhere in the hospital having a normal, complication-free labor. Gigi would have the perfect labor and probably look glamorous through the whole thing. All thoughts of Gigi, however, disappeared when the nurse returned and placed her daughter in her arms. Delilah was so caught up in memorizing every detail of her daughter that she barely noticed the nurse leave.
"Hello, sweet pea," she said softly. "I'm your mama and you're my little—well, we need to work on the name thing—but you're my baby girl for now and for always." She was surprised when the door opened to reveal her husband. "It told the nurse not to interrupt you."
"I'm glad she did—now I get to see both my girls."
She smiled as he sat down in the chair by the bed. "Did they tell you she's out of the NICU?"
He nodded. "She's strong—a fighter."
"Like her daddy."
"She's got her mama's eyes."
Delilah looked from the baby's light blue eyes to the brown fuzz on her head. "And her daddy's hair." He smiled but didn't say anything. "Clint," she began hesitantly. "I know you wanted…"
He cut her off, "No use talking about it. This one's perfect."
"She is." Delilah agreed. They both fell quiet—content to watch their daughter. As the tiny girl began to drift off to sleep, she began making a noise that was something between a gurgle and squeak. "Is she snoring?"
"Nurse said it happens with preemies—laryngo-somethin'. She should grow out of it in a couple months, but until then she's our own little cricket."
"Last night I decided she sounded like crickets chirping."
Delilah smiled as she thought of her husband spending the night watching his baby girl sleep. It was an image that she wanted to keep with her so that she could share it with the little girl one day—a way for her to know just how much her daddy loved her. "Cricket," she repeated, more to herself than to him. "I like it. What do you think?"
"You mean for a name?"
"You don't like it?"
"It's just different."
"Our daughter is one of kind."
"That she is," he agreed. "It does have a nice ring to it."
"What you think?" she asked the baby. Looking back up at her husband, she smiled and said, "She didn't wake up, so she must like it."
"Well, then it's official. Welcome to the world, Cricket Caruth."
A/N: Okay, that last line was pretty cheesy, but for some reason I picture Daddy Bo getting a little sappy/cheesy over his daughter-even if he wanted a son. Anyway, this is a one shot for now, but as I keep going in my other story, I may decided to dapple in Cricket's childhood just a little more.